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BIG BEND NA­TIONAL PARK, TEXAS

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BIG BEND, TX

Kick off the Lone Star State’s hik­ing sea­son with an overnight in the Chisos Moun­tains.

Else­where around the coun­try, peo­ple are flock­ing to the back­coun­try in a last-ditch ef­fort to hang onto hik­ing sea­son. Not here. In Texas, Oc­to­ber means the best hik­ing of the year is just be­gin­ning. But “best” doesn’t mean easy. Back­pack­ers have to brave long, long stretches with­out wa­ter to reap the re­wards: empty trails, canyon views that melt into the hori­zon, and some of the best camp­sites in the en­tire park sys­tem. Start easy, with the 4.8-mile out-and-back along the Lost Mine Trail to this out­crop­ping fac­ing Big Bend’s South Rim. Let it whet your ap­petite for a big­ger ad­ven­ture across the way. There, you can kick off the Lone Star State’s back­pack­ing sea­son with a 14.5-mile vari­a­tion of the South Rim Loop. Link the Pin­na­cles, Boot Canyon, East Rim, South Rim, La­guna Mead­ows, and Basin Loop Trails to do it, camp­ing mid­way on the South Rim, a fortress of crumbly rock that lords 2,000 feet above the canyon­lands of the Chisos Moun­tains. PER­MIT Re­quired for camp­ing ($10); ob­tain from any vis­i­tor cen­ter. CONTACT nps.gov/bibe

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